Firefighters dispatched to the shop at 1252 N. Santa Anita Ave. at 5:27 a.m. found a terrified and burned man trying to break out of the locked shop, which a caller said had been torched with Molotov cocktails. But the man could not be saved and he died from burns, authorities said.
Sheriff's homicide detectives were called to investigate the fire and the man's death. He was pronounced dead at the scene and the bodies of two other people, who both appeared to be adults, were later found inside the location, according to a statement from the Sheriff's Information Bureau.
A firefighter suffered minor, second degree burns while trying to rescue the man and battle the fire, a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher said. Paramedics rushed him to a hospital for treatment.
A caller gave authorities information that Molotov cocktails were thrown at the location, according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Sheriff's Information Bureau.
"Deputies and fire department personnel saw a man within the business compound and behind the heavily locked gates of the location, badly burned and trying escape the fire,'' Saldana said.
"Despite rescue personnel's efforts to rescue the victim, he was overcome by flames and succumbed to his injuries,'' she said. "He was pronounced dead at the scene.''
Saldana said witnesses reported seeing a white "Silverado'' pickup truck leaving the scene at the time of the fire.
The cause of the blaze, put out by 6:26 a.m., was under investigation.
Sheriff's homicide detectives asked anyone with any information regarding the fire or the deceased to call them at (323) 890-5500.
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